Compensation awarded to migrants' families

Jul 25, 2008 (DVB), The families of 54 Burmese migrants who suffocated to death in a lorry in Thailand in April are to receive compensation from the Thai government and the vehicle owner.

Htoo Chit, director of the Grassroots Human Rights Education and Development in Phang Nga province, Thailand, praised the work of NGOs in bringing about the decision.

"After the hard work done by NGOs based in Thailand , the Migrant Assistance Programme Foundation, the Burmese Labour Union and the Lawyers' Council of Thailand , compensation for the 54 Burmese migrants who died in April will be paid to their families," Htoo Chit said.

"[They will receive] 35,000 baht each from the company that owned the vehicle and 65,000 baht from the Thai government."

But Htoo Chit expressed concern that the money might not reach its intended recipients in Burma.

"The money will be channelled through the Burmese government and we are worried that those who are supposed to get it might not," he said.

Around 40 NGO representatives and activists went to the Thai Ministry of Justice on 22 April to lay a wreath and present a letter calling on the ministry not to immediately deport the survivors of the incident back to Burma and to consider providing compensation to the families of those who died.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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